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A PUBL ICAT ION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER SUMMER 2004
A PUBL ICAT ION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER SUMMER 2004
Br i t i sh Columbia’s Rainfores t Wolves, page 4
Cr ying Wolf in Kyrgyzs tan, page 7
3 From the Executive Director
10 International Wolf Center Notes From Home
13 Tracking the Pack 15 Wolves of the World 19 News and Notes 20 Personal Encounter 24 Wolf Tracks 25 As A Matter of Fact 26 Wild Kids 28 A Look Beyond
THE QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER VOLUME 14, NO. 2 SUMMER 2004
On The Cover Gray wolf pup howling, Rocky Mountains. Photo by Daniel J. Cox.
Daniel J. Cox has worked as a professional wildlife photographer for nearly 25 years. His photographs have been published in National Geographic magazine and in publications of the National Wildlife Federation, Audubon and Sierra Club, among many others. His work can be viewed at www.naturalexposures.com.
te r N
Crying Wolf in Central Asia
In November 2003, Carter Niemeyer, wolf recovery coordinator for Idaho, visited the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan to assess the problem of wolves preying on domestic livestock. He found that Kyrgyzstan’s “wolf problem” is much like wolf problems in the United States.
C a r t e r N i e m e y e r
Rendezvous in a Rainforest In the heart of the “Great Bear Rainforest,” a
nearly pristine, but largely unprotected, temperate rainforest on British Columbia’s mainland coast, biologists are studying the area’s apex carnivore— the gray wolf—with the hope of finding ways to preserve this animal and other coastal life.
C h r i s D a r i m o n t
A Midnight Visitor
One of the great parts of my job is the necessity to work out of our two offices. I spend most of my time in our Twin Cities office, but during the year I makenumerous trips to our flagship education facility in northern Minnesota. The trip north to Ely is more than the 250 miles. There is the transition in ecological zones
from the broadleaf forest to the mixed forests of the north, where coniferous trees
and spruce bogs command a large presence. There is the transition from the largely
urban landscapes to a region dominated by the Superior National
Forest, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As I head
north, I leave behind the human population center of Minnesota and
the commercial and industrial centers of the state. The more sparsely
populated northeastern area of the state supports natural resource–based
businesses like farming, forestry and mining.
As a birder, my scanning of the terrain close to the Twin Cities focuses
on finding red-tailed hawks and sandhill cranes. Farther north, I shift
my search to bald eagles, great gray owls and loons. And on the mammal
front, the search for moose and bears begins when I reach the north country.
While the rich diversity and distinctive identities of these two regions of the state
always make the trips north and south interesting, the element that makes the trip north
most distinctive is the transition into wolf range. While the chance of seeing a wolf is
unlikely (in my 10 years on the job I have seen wild wolves in Minnesota only a dozen
or so times), there is a special feeling that comes with simply crossing into wolf territory.
I was strongly reminded of this on my most recent visit to Ely. While staying
overnight in an isolated cabin near the Center, I was startled in the morning by two
things. First, the thermometer registered 26 degrees below zero—a temperature rarely
experienced in the Twin Cities in recent years. But more engaging than the tempera-
ture were the fresh tracks of a wolf that had passed by my cabin during the night. The
light snow that had fallen confirmed that the tracks were recently made. Seeing those
tracks so close to where I had spent the night added a whole new flavor to the trip
sand reminded me in a direct way just how much the presence of wolves in the land-
scape adds to the quality of any outdoor experience. �
From the Executive Director INTERNATIONAL
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Nancy jo Tubbs
Dr. L. David Mech Vice Chair
Dr. Rolf O. Peterson Secretary
Paul B. Anderson Treasurer
Dr. Larry D. Anderson
Julie Potts Close
Thomas T. Dwight
Dr. Robert Laud
Dr. Robert Ream
Walter M. Medwid
The International Wolf Center advances the survival
of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their
relationship to wild lands and the human role in their future.
Educational services and informational resources
are available at:
1396 Highway 169 Ely, MN 55731-8129, USA
e-mail address: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.wolf.org
Publications Director Mary Ortiz Magazine Coordinator Carissa L.W. Knaack Consulting Editor Mary Keirstead Technical Editor L. David Mech Graphic Designer Tricia Hull
International Wolf (1089-683X) is published quarterly and copyrighted, 2004, by the International Wolf Center, 12615 Co. Road 9, #200, Minneapolis, MN 55441, USA. e-mail: [email protected] All rights reserved.
Publications agreement no. 1536338
Membership in the International Wolf Center includes a subscription to International Wolf magazine, free admission to the Center, and discounts on programs and merchandise. • Lone Wolf member- ships are U.S. $30 • Wolf Pack $50 • Wolf Associate $100 • Wolf Sponsor $500 • Alpha Wolf $1000. Canada and other countries, add U.S. $15 per year for airmail postage, $7 for surface postage. Contact the International Wolf Center, 1396 Highway 169, Ely, MN 55731-8129, USA; e-mail: [email protected]; phone: 1-800-ELY-WOLF
International Wolf is a forum for airing facts, ideas and attitudes about wolf- related issues. Articles and materials printed in International Wolf do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the International Wolf Center or its board of directors.
International Wolf welcomes submissions of personal adventures with wolves and wolf photographs (especially black and white). Prior to submission of other types of manuscripts, address queries to Mary Ortiz, publications director.
International Wolf is printed entirely with soy ink on recycled and recyclable paper (text pages contain 20% post- consumer waste, cover paper contains 10% post-consumer waste). We encourage you to recycle this magazine.
PHOTOS: Unless otherwise noted, or obvious from the caption or article text, photos are of captive wolves.
2 S u m m e r 2 0 0 4 w w w . w o l f . o r g I n t e r n a t i o n a l W o l f S u m m e r 2 0 0 4 3
Letter to the editor about Mexican wolves overly bleak
Iwas honored to have my bookThe Return of the Mexican Gray Wolf: Back to the Blue reviewed in your Winter 2003 issue. While the Mexican wolf reintroduction program in the Southwest and the wolf reintroduction program in Yellowstone National Park both faced animosity from opposition, comparison of the two programs ends there. Our southwestern re- introduction into Arizona did not arouse the widespread national interest that the return of wolves to Yellowstone did, but the two projects are not alike. Translocating wild wolves from Canada into northwestern wilderness is much different from attempting to reintro- duce captive wolves into their historic habitat.
As David Mech so thoroughly emphasized in the splendid fore- word he wrote for my book, the fact that the only Mexican wolves available for reintroduction were captive wolves made the reintro- duction much more complicated and difficult than moving wild wolves into a similar surrounding. This in no way lessens the impor- tance of the Yellowstone reintro- duction. However, the fact that Mexican wolves were close to ex- tinction with their only hope for survival a return to the wild before they became unfit for wilderness survival makes the current increase in their wild population a victory for this endangered species.
This brings up the extremely bleak outlook expressed by Michael Robinson in his letter in the same issue. Robinson has supported Mexican wolf recovery with genuine dedication for many years, but this negative letter conflicts with the updates I get by phone every few weeks from the energetic project staff in Alpine, Arizona. I do not believe that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fabricates ghost animals to make up for the fact that the population has increased slower than originally anticipated. Monthly status reports on the USFWS Web site (Mexicanwolf.fws.gov) reflect that the year-end population, including pups, is close to 60 Mexican wolves. Considering the past year’s rash of illegal killings and accidental killings, this population still exceeds the previous year’s ending population by over a dozen animals. Despite the setbacks faced during 2003, the project biologists are upbeat and optimis